By Pule Thole, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Safety:
The Democratic Alliance is deeply concerned with the lack of funding for the Community Policing Forums in the Northern Cape.
This emerged during a recent presentation of the 1st quarterly performance report of the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison to the legislature.
The department indicated to the portfolio committee that CPFs do not have the necessary funding to execute their operations.
It is not acceptable that 21 years into democracy there is still no consistent commitment to support community police relations.
CPFs were established by provision in section 221(2) of the Constitution and section 19(1) of the South African Police Services (SAPS) Act 68 of 1995.
They together with the police establish and maintain a partnership with the community, promote communication between the police and the community, promote cooperation and ensure that the police fulfill the needs of the community in respect of policing.
They also work to improve the service of the police to the community regarding transparency and accountability of the SAPS and promote joint problem identification and problem solving in fighting crime.
The lack of funding means that CPFs do not have the resources to act effectively against crime and communities are forming independent bodies as we have witnessed recently.
For instance we have seen the creation of a number of voluntary community crime prevention associations such as Wanya Tsotsi and Saam Staan Kimberley, which is a testament that there is something that we are not doing right.
This indicates that there is a gap somewhere and there is a void so the people are stepping in to close that void.
While we welcome the community activism, the DA believes adequate support should be given to the CPFs as the legal bodies aimed to foster community relations with the police in the fight against crime to ensure freedom, fairness and opportunity.